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Full text of "Mind's Eye Fall 1987"

The Mind's Eye 



Volume 8 Number 1 



NORTH ADAMS STATE COLLEGE 



The Mind's Eye is a journal of review and comment 
published during the college year 
at North Adams, Massachusetts 01247 



Fall 1987 

EDITORIAL BOARD 

Robert Bishoff 
Harris Elder 

W. Anthony Gengarelly 
Stephen A. Green 
Ellen Schiff 
Maynard Seider 



Erva Zuckerman 3 A Rose is a Rose 

In appreciation (ox an exceptional Elderhostel 
experience. 

Arnold Bar lint 6 Melville and the Berkshires 

Regional landscape and people influenced a 
prominent author. 



COMMENT 

The Editorial Board 2 The Editor's File 

An invitation to contribute to the 
revival of a journal. 

Stephen A, Green 2 Remembering Charlie 

An extra measure of conscience. 



The Editor's File 



Charlie Mclsaac died in 1984. During his lime at 
North Adams Siaie College he contributed to 
numerous projects while serving as Director of 
Fieel Library. One of his endeavors was the creation of 
The Mind's Eye in 1976. Charlie sold the idea of a 
publication which could include poetry, short essays, 
reviews, and commentary to a few colleagues. From a 
prospectus which was followed by a trial issue or two, 
he launched [he first issue in April 1977. From two to 
live issues would appeal on campus annually during 
the next hall dozen years. Many at the college con- 
tributed. So did pel sons from outside our campus. The 
Mind's Eye served as a forum for many and it is 



important, we feel, that it not disappear. So, after a 
long hiatus, The Mind's Eye reappears, and with it an 
invitation to you to contribute. The editorial board is 
convinced that we can once again produce a quality 
"journal of review and comment. " We are certain of the 
importance of maintaining such a publication on a 
college campus and know the value of providing an 
additional opportunity lor colleagues lo shale ideas. 
That, after all, is why Charlie Mclsaac created it more 
than a decade ago. We know, too, thai continuing this 
enterprise would please Charlie. 

— The Editorial Board 
The Mind's F.ye 



Remembering Charlie 



Shortly after his cat Bully died in 1982, Charlie 
Mclsaac wrote a brid remembrance, published 
later in The Mind's Eye. It's a lovely piece, 
sentimental but not maudlin, and like all his work 
beautifully wi itten. Charlie ended it saying, 

Knowing he is not here any more comes to us 
in bits and pieces. We cannot give him up in one 
leap. Love is not like that. We loved him dearly. 

We aie grateful thai he came into this house, a 
blue-eyed buff and white kitten who added riches 
to our lives. He has taken a part ol us with him, 
and we are diminished. We have let him go. but 
we cannot forger. 

Charlie Mclsaac died in November 1984. 1 find that 1 
am one of many who cannot forget him and, like those 
others, I, too, am diminished by his death. But Charlie 
would not have cared whether people remembered him 
as a person. Sell-importance, ego, pretension were not 
what Charlie was about. Words, ideas, and causes were 
Charlie's life, He genuinely cared how people spoke 
and wrote, bow and what they thought. He worried 
about whethei we would be sensible enough to preserve 
our planet, our society, our community, and ourselves 
for a livable future. 



ft is difficult now lor me to think about the arms rate, 
nuclear weapons, environmental degradation, poverty, 
or any of the survival issues fated by so many without 
remembering Charlie's wisdom and counsel. Il is just 
as hard to think about any of the foibles which beset us 
as individuals without remembering Charlie s com- 
passion and forgiveness. And it is impossible for me to 
take note of the arrogance or hypocrisy of those who 
would impose on others, without remembering 
Charlie's integrity and principle. 

A I his funeral I said that Charlie Mclsaac seived as 
an extra measure ol conscience for us all. His 
editorial commentary in The Mind's Eye testifies to his 
passionate concern with the big issues. He knew, as we 
all know, that they won't take care of themselves, but 
require oui vigilance, critique, and, if necessary, revolt 
il we are lo survive. 

I also remember Charlie as tall, slow in movement, 
either grumbling ot chuckling, thoughtful, concerned. 
And so many of us remember him whenever we think, 
worry, lalk, or rvi ile about the problems of the world. 
As a stimulator of conscience Charlie continues to serve 
all of us well. 

— Stephen A. Green 



2 



Elderhostel as an Educational Experience 



A Rose is a Rose 

by Erva Zuckerman 



As ] sitai my kitchen table on a Sunday morning, 
contemplating a rose, a welter ol impressions 
fermenting within me begins to lake shape. 
The lose is one of forty-four, raised with a lot of care in 
the unfavorable (for roses) climate ol the fkrkshires, 
which were presented as pari of an improvised grad- 
uation ceremony at the end of the ElderhostsJ week at 
North Adams State College. How can such a gift be 
reciprocated? 

The owner of the stained glass studio we visiied told 
us ol his reluctance to take apprentices because if they 
did not use what he had taught them, lie fell his lime 
had been wasted. What more could a teacher wish than 
to know that at least some of the seeds of wisdom have 
not fallen on stony ground? Doesn't human gratifi- 
cation come from a balance between iiuputand output? 
That idea was picked up from a class in the sociology of 
ideas at an Elderhostel on Nantucket. It has been 
quoted on several occasions since, and it 
comes back to me now. Yes, feedback is 
needed, but how can it be given? Would 
that, like Hawthorne, I could make every 
word count. 

We happened 10 stay at North Adams 
State College for two weeks because our 
names had not come up m the lottery for 
Williams, Amherst, or Bennington . We were 
disappointed at first because we had looked 
forward to the experience ol two different 
colleges on our Elderhostel vacation, but we 
decided to give North Adams a chance. 

Our orientation emphasized Elderhostel 
as an educational experience. One member 
ol out group protested that we were not expected to 
attend all three classes. Some found an eight o'clock 
class a little early, but most were pleased to get in all 
three classes in the morning so that the afternoons 
would be free lor held trips or other pursuits. 

Our classes wete held in Mark Hopkins Hall. The 
name evoked an image ol a leather at one end of a log 
and a student at the other. This recalled to me an 
imaginary dialogue, written at age eighteen, in which 
such a teacher was unable to give a satisfactory answer 
to a student's question, "What am I here for?" (By 
implication, what is the purpose of all this learning?) 

We approached our first class, in science fiction, 
with some skepticism. Before long we found 



ourselves looking a: our world upside do\vn and from 
new angles. How would we react if beings of higher 
intelligence treated us as we treat our insect popula- 
tions? What would it be like to have another concept of 
time? Could out technology triumph over us? "Science 
Fiction as Philosophy" we called it, pleased wilh our 
discovery thai it offered more than mere diversion. 

Our nexi hour brought us back to the present. Some 
of us had personal reasons for an interest in Africa. To 
others it may have been a strange and unknown 
continent, but none of us could escape its effect on our 
fives, Five days were not enough to come to grips with 
its complexity, but we had a glimpse ol tfie problems 
that ensue when differing cultures must live side by- 
side, and when modern technology confronts a tradi- 
tional way of life. 

Studying the short novel took us into universal 
concerns. We tested our own views of life against those 
of Kafka, Mann, Conrad, and Solzhenitsyn. We 
complained about ihe quantity of reading 
our courses required, but for me the desire to 
get the most from class discussion overcame 
tfie temptation to run off to the summer 
ttieater in William stown. Some sacrifices 
must be made for education. Howolien does 
one have the opportunity to discuss vital 
questions with an assortment of peers from 
varying backgrounds? What made it espe- 
cially interesting was that we were all elders. 

1 have met people who do not like to 
characterize themselves as elders. They pr efer 
to say, "I'm going to a hostel," or suggest 
that "continuing education" is a better title. 
Probably they have never been exposed to a society in 
which ciders were revered or ancestors worshipped. 

Some of the excitement came I torn viewing both new 
and familiar works from the perspective of a lifetime of 
experience. Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" was less 
bewilder ing and frightening than it had seemed when 
first encountered in my college days. 

The evening programs carried our education a step 
lurther. Each was related to one of our classes. Some- 
times 1 hestlated to regard them as entertainment, 
Nothing would have induced me to sit through 
Apocalypse Now except my curiosity to compare il 
with Conrad's Hear; of Darkness, For me the connection 
was made when the film's image of a pile of children's 
severed arms brought to the surface a childhood 
memory; a man with no hands whom I had known on 




3 



the mission station in the Belgian Congo, where I had 
grown up. I had been told thai his hands had been cut 
oil by King Leopold's soldiers when he was a baby 
because his parents had tailed to deliver their quota of 
copal or rubber. As I shared this observation with the 
class the next day, the physical tension and sensation of 
inner upheaval surprised me as it sounded in my voice. 
The reaction was puzzling until I later realized that in 
thai moment the distance between hie and ail had been 
dosed. 

We were looking forward to the second week by 
the end of our first. It promised to give us an 
opportunity to continue to explore some of the ques- 
tions and issues in which we had been engaged. The 
weekend was an interlude of relaxation, with time to 
enjoy a rehearsal al Tanglewood and to finish reading 
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. 1 ivanted my 
own impressions to compare with the class discussion 
of what makes the survival of humanity possible in a 
des truct i ve environment. 

Familiarity with our surroundings put. us at ease as 
we met the new arrivals. With fewer new impressions to 
take in, the process of getting acquainted was more 
relaxed. I could even feel the shell of my insulation 
beginning to crack a little. It reminded me of group 
experiences in my college days. I had been acommuting 
student, but encouraged by a sociology professor, I had 
spent two summers living and working with a group of 
my peers in an American Friends' Service Committee 
work camp in the Pennsylvania coal fields and in a 
group of settlement houses in New York City. Those 
two summers brought my studies in sociology to life. 1 
could not expect the same kind of interaction to 
develop in a week or even two in an Elderhoslel, but the 
comparison made me realize how separated our 
intellectual lives had become as we pursued our own 
lifestyles in relative privacy. Perhaps a little of this 
comfort and privacy had to be given up before we could 
discover what we had in common. Sharing a 
college dorm left a little aw F kward at first, 
but sometimes, as we brushed our teeth, our 
exchanges went beyond the usual pleas- 
antries to touch on the issues we had 
discussed in class. 

The second week began as had the first, 
with an evening guided tour of the historic 
Victorian homes that lined Church Street, 
adjacent to the college. With a companion 
from the first week, I decided to branch out 
to see more of the town. Over the weekend a 
local paper had published "A Walking 
Tour of North Adams," describing some of 
the historic buildings. Following it, we 
found the house described as the "most 
elegant" and began to look for its 



"meticulously preserved" features. The Queen Anne 
carriage barn, the mansard roof, and the corner tower 
were easy to spot, but where and what were the "oculus 
dormers"? We walked around the house as far as we 
could, examining it from every angle. "What about 
those little round windows in the tower? Of course, 
they look like eyes with the upper lid overhanging a 
little." The pleasure in our discovery lingered on — so 
long that 1 began to wonder why. What is this 
satisfaction in acquit mga bit ol information that I w ill 
never need to use, even in a TV quiz show? Ah, this is 
how we educate ourselves. The process is important, 
not the result. If this feature had been pointed out on 
the tour, I would have nodded with a passing interest 
and forgotten it the next day. 

We plunged into out classes, eager to learn what 
Chaucer and Hawthorne hud to offer that would help 
us live our lives today. The prospect of interacting with 
four different professors in our class ol forty-foul on the 
topic of religion and the human spirit was exciting. 

Impressions accumulated and connected from class 
to class . . . Chaucer as a social critic describing the 
clerics of his day . . . The modern TV evangelists .. . . 
Hawthorne's Puritans taking part in a witches' revel. 
With the skill ol an expert guide, our instructor led us 
into the heart of Hawthorne's gloomy stories, focusing 
our discussion with a few questions oil the board— 
"Why did he laugh?" — calling us by name as she drew 
from us a variety of answers, questioning some , labeling 
none right, but leaving us to choose those that best 
matched our experience. We pondered Hawthorne's 
themes: man's relation to himself, to others, and to the 
unknown; his aspiration toward immortality. 

By the end of the second week I became aware that 
something had changed for me. During the first week, 
when we had suffered from the heal, 1 was surprised at 
my willingness and ability to sit through three ( lasses 
with only a short break between each. Usually, in 
choosing an Elderhostel, I look for classes that will take 
me out of doors or involve physical activity or field 
trips, I become restless if conlined too long 
to a hot room w r iih a talkative crowd . Now 1 
found myself content with the view of 
mountains from the classioom window. 
When we moved to a classroom with out 
backs to the windows, I was so involved in 
the discussion that I had no regreis. There 
would be time for an afLernoon swim, in the 
lake. 

On the last day, as we confronted our 
lour professors who had presented 
varied aspects of religion and the human 
spirit with our own views and questions, a 
common underlying concern emerged from 
our differing approaches. One member 
expressed it for us: how can the trend toward 




4 



alienation in modern society be overcome? 

Sometime in the middle of the last night a l ush of 
impressions woke me and would not let sleep return. 
Drawing on past experience, 1 waited quietly for them 
to settle, perhaps lo take a recognizable form. Fust to 
appeal was a sense of unease, as if something had been 
left undone. What could it be? Watch a little longer. 
J he forest animal may come out of hiding. There it is. 
Tomorrow w r eparl. Bonds thathave been formed must 
be broken. Is it possible for our farewells to express 
what we have experienced here? Sleep returned and 
with it a dream. We were returning from F.lderhoslel, 
encountering some vague obstacles along the way. 
Suddenly, rounding two large (rucks parked by the side 
of the road, a car appeared, approaching us slowly but 
head-on, 1 put out my hand and cried a warning, but it 
was too late. We passed through the car as if it were a 
mist. "How Hawthorn-ish," commented someone to 
whom I told the dream next morning. 

Goodbyes were said, as they tiad to be. Some of those 
returning by bus entr usted their roses to my care. On 
impulse I distributed them to members of the staff who 
had been an important part ol the experience, keeping 
only one. I hesitated over this choice. At the graduation 
I had watched as the roses were lifted from a large ice 
bucket and presented alphabetically. The first woman 
on the list received a particularly unusual one with 
dark red petals nearly white underneath. Through the 
whole alphabet, I watched for another like it. li was too 
much to fiope that it would come 10 me, but to my 
surprise it did. Such a strange coincidence 
could hardly have been planned. Why not 
keep them both? No, a rose is a lose. One is 
enough. It was given to someone who ^5^. 
appreciated it as I had. As we climbed into 
our car, a tune ran through my head: 
"Somebody else is taking my place." The 
(ask had been completed. 

But that was not the end. All the way 
home, 1 could leel the yeast rising. What was 
it that had made the experience so much 
more than we had expected? Was it the two-week stay, 
the relation of the courses lo each other, the quality ol 
the teachers, the group that had been attracted, the 
vision and availability ol our coordinators? Whenever I 
pinned it down, like a butterfly in a gfass case, 
something had gone out ol it. Yet the impressions 
continue to be rearranged into new patterns. New 
creations keep coming into view. I can almost leel the 
chemical process taking place in my cells. 

The rose is fully open now, revealing its heart. 
From somewhere a question surfaces. If it is 
true, as outsiders have told us, that man is made in the 
image ol God, would not man have to be able to create 
himself? With the question comes a sense ol shock. 
How could that be? Don't ancient my ths warn us of the 




dangers ol such an undertaking? Or is the danger rather 
in taking it too literally, or like Dr. Rappacini, lc>r tfie 
wrong purpose? 

As f go about my household chores, unpacking, 
cleaning, tending the garden, the feeling of gestation 
continues. 11 we must educate out selves with the helpol 
a teacher, perhaps a paradigm could be found. We have 
sacred texts, old legends, epics. 1 settle for something 
simpler, the fairy tales on which my developing psyche 
was nourished. 

When I was raising my children in (he 1950s, fairy 
tales had gone out of fashion. ( remember a mother 
protesting when a storyteller began "Jack and the 
Beanstalk." But if fairy stories had been banned I think 
I would have read them to my children in secret, for 
they have come lo my aid often, as they do now. Alter 
the youngest brother had completed his tasks with such 
help as he could find along the way, he won the hand of 
the princess who had inspired him lo do so, and they 
lived happily ever after. What other kind of immortality 
could one wish? 

As I round the corner of my house on my way to t ake 
the back yard, my eye is caught by a battered piece of 
paper, a sheet of music. Hamburger wrappers and soda 
cans I find quite often, but whence cometh ihis music? 
There arc words, one phrase repeated over and over — 
"The best that you can do — "File best thing you can 
do." It sounds like a message. Sure enough, there it is at the 
bottom ol tire page, " — is lall in love." 

How simple thai makes everything. I 
put it aside uruil I have finished my 
y chores. An image forms as I work, of throngs 
of young people — our children's children — 
passing through college doors, wishing and 
waiting to fall in love, to find out what life is 
all about. 

The raking is finished, I examine tfie 
paper lo sec - whether 1 have missed any thing. 
On (he olhei side I hnd the lull message. 

When caught between the moon 
and New York City, 
Tfie best that you can do. 
The best thing you can do 
is lafl in love. 

Where will they find their help, the young people 
who ask these questions and face these challenges? 
From you and from us. For belter or for worse, we are 
their model. 

The rose has laded now. Its petals have wrinkled and 
dried. But I do not feel sad. It has fulfilled its purpose 
on this earth. The rose has become a rose. 

Erva Zuckerrnati writes from Iter perspective as a social 
worker and as the author of Child Welfare (Free Press, 1983). 
The inscription in her gift of this book to the college is 
reprinted on the cover of this Mind's Eye. 



5 



Regional Influence on Writing 



Melville and the Berkshires 

by Arnold Bartini 



The genius of Herman Melville tame to lull 
[lowering in the Berkshire Hills. We indelibly 
associate New England with Emerson, 
Thoreau, Longfellow, Dickinson. Frost, and with 
Melville's good friend Hawthorne. New England con- 
ditioned the outlook and the techniques many ol these 
writers employed. Bui we think of Melville as somehow 
wielded to the South Sea Islands and to the ocean 
expanses which nourished the White Whale. It is 
conceivable that he might have come to port in New 
Bedford or Nantucket, but (hat he would have been 
profoundly inspired by the placidity ol some verdant 
hills seems, at first, unlikely, 

II we search the Berkshire writings 
of Melville, we find no startling 
revelations of the Berkshire spirit. He 
was not, in the true sense ol the word, a 
regional ist. We find his language 
affected only slightly by local dialect 
and colloquialism; he did not, like 
Frost, build a style according to a 
characteristic New England formula, nor did he seek 
reclusion as Emily Dickinson and Nathaniel Haw- 
thorne had. His style varies from work to work, to such 
a striking extent as to discourage categorization ol a 
typically Melvillian technique. A paradox he was in 
these hills, but never a misfit; in subtle ways Ire was 
indeed conditioned by the Berkshire landscape and 
populace. 



By temperament and by cultural heritage Melville 
was in fact always tied to his New York State 
origin. Usually when embarking upon an excursion to 
Grey lock, to Monument Mountain, or to some other 
Berkshire landmark, he would be in the company oi a 
circle of New York friends, including the congenial 
Evert A. Ducykinck. But Melville the exti overt, ex- 
cursionist among champagne bottles and new-mown 
hay, found a most solid friendship in the introverted 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was as solidly New 
England as its granite hills. This former resident of 
Albany, wounded in his gropings for literary recog- 
nition and religious belief, and this New Englander, 
much saddened and burdened by his Puritan heritage, 
came together in the closest intellectual and spiritual 
bond. That the many conversations between the two 
men darkened the shadows along Melville's mental 
way, and increased the depth of his musings, is 




legendary and need not be elaborated here. Suffice it to 
say that Hawthorne's removal from Lenox in 1851 
launched Melville's spiritual and intellectual decline. 
His powers were revitalized only spasmodically until 
the final year of his life, when he would create Billy 
iiudd. More than forty years would elapse between the 
eruption that was Moby-Dick (1851), and the resigned 
meditation that was Billy Budd. 



There is a considerable amount of New England 
in Moby-Dick, but little ol Berkshire. Berkshire 
County did not even care to ack- 
nowledge the book when it w r as pub- 
lished. The Greylock Sentinel of North 
Adams printed a lew superficial 
statements about the hook's depiction 
ol the whaling industry, hut its editors, 
along with the literary world, did not 
Seem aware of the book's significance. 
The view from Arrowhead, the breeze 
from Greylock, the picnics at Lake Pontoosuc had 
provided a fresh and tranquil atmosphere for Melville 
to dwell upon his earlier sea recollections and impres- 
sions, and upon the agonizing ambiguities of the 
universe. 

Physically and emotionally wearied by the titanic 
effort of this exhausting masterpiece, Melville wrote 
his next work in a morbid state of mind. Pierre (1852) 
emerges a curious conglomeration oi Elizabethan 
poetry, romanticism, Gothir elements, sentimentality, 
and even absurdity. That novel is ol interest primarily 
because of the striking parallels between Pierre and 
Melville himself. Like Pierre, Melville could trace his 
happiest boyhood memories back to the country — to 
the days he spent upon his uncle's Ptttsfield farm. Also 
like Melville, Pierre had experienced unhappy family 
ties, labored as an author, been concerned with philo- 
sophical speculations, suffered spiritual unrest, ap- 
proached insanity , and would finally deteriorate in the 
city. Many of the characters in the book have Berkshire 
people as prototypes. Portions ol the book are even 
located in a Berkshire-like setting. The elm-lined 
streets of Pittsfield, Broatlhall, the Hoosic and Taconic 
mountain ranges are all there if we look lor them. And 
certainly we cannot miss the tinge of bitterness in the 
dedication of the book to the inanimate Mt. Greylock. 
Melville could deem no human worthy of Pierre. 

In !855 Melville produced Israel Putter, a story with a 



6 



Berkshire locale. Israel is a typical pauioi, exiled horn 
his native New England. The descriptions in the 
beginning ol the book were likely inspired by the 
scenery around Arrowhead. But we cannot attribute the 
name Israel Potter to Piitstield's Potter Mountain, 
because Melville had borrowed the name from a work 
published in Providence in 1824. 

His next Berkshire product, "I and My Chimney" 
(1856), was a short story that has stimulated all kinds of 
Freudian speculations about the nature of Melville's 
relations with his wile and his mother It is in reality 
perhaps only a good-natured tour-de-force, with 
enough charm to move Melville to inscribe some ol its 
lines as poetry on the fireplace at Arrowhead. 

The whole series ol Piazza Tales (1856) originated 
from Arrowhead. Prom this collection, scholars are 
currently much impressed by "Bartleby, the Scrivener" 
and "Benito Cereno." Less popular is another story 
written during this period, "Cock-a-Doodle-Do!" 
(1853), in which Melville aimed a devastating blow at 
the transcendentalism ol some of his New England 
colleagues. With a striking satirical touch, Melville 
attacked the kind ol materialism ihat raises man to such 
an Olympus that he is not even aware of his physical 
needs. The peak ol absurdity in the story is represented 
by Merrymusk, proud owner of the cock. Merrymusk 
watches his impoverished family die off, one by one, 
firm in his conviction that all is well with the world. 
Merrymusk, a type ol Yankee farmer, perhaps sym- 
bolizes a deceptively optimistic New England, at the 
peak ol its prosperity, unable 
to perceive the signs ol its 
approaching decline. 

Of similar tone is "The 
Tartarus ol Maids" (1855), 
which belittles the Victorian 
o p t i in ism o v e t t h e 
Industrial Revolution. Mel- 
ville apparently saw not 
progress in paper mills in 
Da I tori, but a kind ol retro- 
gressive sterility. It is interest- 
ing to note in this respect that 
as recently as 1952 the paper 
industry retaliated in an article 
(Harrison Elliott, "A Century 
Ago an Eminent Author 
Looked upon Paper and 
Papcrmakmg," Papermakmg 
21:55-58). This retort would 




doubtlessly have amused Melville, 

Melville could turn his satire upon parliculai in- 
dividuals as well. Fanny Kemble, of Lenox fame, 
becomes a tomboy character in The Confidence-Man 
(1857). Fanny had been a renowned Shakespearian 
actress and a bulwark of Lenox society. She had even 
donated the clock lor the Chuich-on-the-Hill. But 
Melville belittles her for her boy-like nature and her 
lack of warmth. To climax his attack on her personality, 
he gives her in the novel tiie name ol Goneril. 

The works just cited are those to which we can 
trace some direct Berkshire influence. Personally, 
the Berkshire years were a stimulant (through the 
friendship with Hawthorne) and a depressant (through 
the mental anguish which illness and overwork enacted 
from him). Socially, Melville proved the curious 
extrovert, probing the Berkshire landscape and in- 
corporating what be observed into his writing. 
Philosophically, Melville proved a conservative who 
had little patience with the materialistic and tech- 
nological ideas which were beginning to shape the 
world's thinking. The hills ol Berkshire might have 
reminded him ol "the purple ol the billows," but never 
of the deification ol nature fostered by the trans- 
cendentalisms. 

Spiritually, there was a similar note of sadness in his 
nature. Frantically, he investigated setts, like the 
Shakers, hoping to find a tangible belief for his file. Flis 
friend Hawthorne had noted that Melville was "belter 
worth immortality than most 
ol us." This instability ol 
Melville's spu it probably con- 
stituted the greatest unhap- 
piness Of his Berkshire years. 
In 18b3 he abandoned Berk- 
shire forever, but the color ol 
New England had indeed 
tinted his philosophy, not in 
the raving red ol the glorious 
sunrise behind a white church 
spire, but in the pale blue cast 
ol the misty mountain horizon. 



Arnold Burtini :s an associate professor of English at 
North Adams State College. 



The drawings in this issue are by Susan Morris of Bast 
Dover, Vermont, and Leon Peters of North A dams State 
College. 



7